Today is Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, a day when families would come together in family cemeteries for prayer, food, and remember loved ones who had passed. After the Civil War this extended to memorialize veterans, and is also the traditional beginning of summer, as Labor day is the end.
I think honoring our fallen veterans is important every day, as we should also honor those still alive. Even when a vet has not died in service they have lived with horrors we can barely imagine, often in pain and/or crippled their whole life, and not every war wound is visible. I just don’t want anyone to forget those who have gone before, who were heroes in another way.
Remember the grandma or neighbor who made the best homemade sugar cookies you have ever had, the lady down the street who brought May baskets, your great-aunt who threw her flowers at her nurse just to be ornery, that shy guy from study hall who died in a car accident after high school. I loved my grandmother more than almost anyone, I even named my daughter after her. I also lost a sister, an adopted brother, more friends and cousins than I like to count, and way too many of these were far too young.
My mom called last night to read me a letter from a cousin that was 19 or 20 years old, he has been gone for 17 years, which is also how old he was when he died, how fortuitous that it was found this weekend of all times. The ones who went before us are always carried with us, in a song, a memory that makes us smile, even the warmth of a summer day.
I want to remember, with fondness, all those I have lost, but even more I want to make sure I cherish those who are still here, which is also the reason I chose long term care for a nursing career, if I had any grandparents left I would want them cared for by someone like me, someone who knows they like Twins or Cubs and turns the game on for them without being asked, someone who remembers they prefer strawberry ice cream, someone who honestly cares about them and will advocate for them when needed.
Remember the dead, honor them, and most of all, honor those living while you still can, we are who we are because of the people that have touched our lives, it’s good to tell people how much they mean to you while you still can.
The nicest thing about that is, it’s never too late for you to thank someone, or to forgive a them, because the gratitude and forgiveness is what shapes you as a person, and we should never forget that. Enjoy your holiday, safely, and be aware of why you are having a family picnic today, it’s in remembrance, of those gone and who will someday go.
About the author:
MamaSteph has 2 kids by birth and several by love, she is a nurse and enjoys finding healthier ways to make comfort foods, gardening, enjoying nature, and living life to the fullest…For a list of her blogs please click here.